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5-Minute City Clean-up Challenge

Last summer, I featured the 5-Minute Beach Clean-up Challenge to push the environmental agenda while we had free time on the beach. Respectively, there’s now an Instagram to get the same volunteer effort into our cities. An effort that is StayBlooming.com worthy and I want to challenge you guys to get in on it. The 5-Minute City Clean-up Instagram is a project with the very same goal of being green: to encourage social media users to volunteer 5 minutes of their time to clean up their city. Users then post the image and tag @5minutecitycleanup on Instagram for a chance at being featured on their page.

The incentive to be featured is a great way to get people interested. Five minutes goes by quickly too, so it’s easy to devote that time to cleaning up. But the goal is what this challenge (as a whole) can accomplish for the environment.

Share your images with us at alyssablooms@gmail.com if you decide to get involved and we’ll give them a definite feature.

Here are some images that they have inspired from around the world:

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🌞 Schools 🌞 . Where everything was born. Places where we gather together to learn for the better. A second home, if not the first one for so many. Schools were key, are key and mostly within the future should be as key as possible 🙏 . 🌎 Dallas • Texas • The United States • 2017 🔵 @oakclifflove ⚫️#00058 🔴#everymomentcounts 🔴#5minutecitycleanup ⚪️#ipickeditup ⚪️#bettertogether ⚪️#zerowaste ⚪️#solutionsnotpollution . #Repost @oakclifflove (@get_repost) ・・・ ♻️4️⃣♻️ #oakclifflove #keepoakcliffbeautiful #keepoakcliffclean #keepdallasclean #keepdallasbeautiful #5minutecitycleanup #take3forthesea #grabbits #justgrabbits #litterless #litterati #5pieces_a_day #1peaceaday #pickup1million

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By talking with Linda Pierce, she said "oh my son is in Chile so as you". She invited me to his new coffee shop @capsulasantiago inauguration on Saturday and sent tons of love (hey Niles!) 🙌The account from Baltimore says "broad" and I couldn"t help but notice the rhyme with abroad 🌎 . Being abroad means to raise awareness about what belongs to you, what belongs to me and what belongs to us. In order to respect the locals, you merge youself with them. You are respectful and approach the place with kindness. 🎉 . Then you travel somewhere else and you go on and on, keep going. Then you realize you belong to everywhere. And everyplace deserves maximum respect, both socially and absolutely environmentaly 🌍 . Let's get greener guys but greener greener! 🌏 . Baltimore • Maryland • United States • 2017 🔵@baltimore_broad ⚫️#00036 🔴#everymomentcounts 🔴#5minutecitycleanup ⚪️#ipickeditup ⚪️#bettertogether ⚪️#zerowaste ⚪️#SolutionsNotPollution . #Repost @baltimore_broad (@get_repost) ・・・ #5minutecitycleanup #trash #trashwalk #nightlyendeavor #keepyourneighborhoodclean #itsyourbaltimoredonttrashit Been cleaning this neighborhood for many years. Decided to join this instagram share.

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Plastkill. . Kills. Easy as that. It kills. . 🌎 The Netherlands• 2018 🔵 @zwerfinator ⚫️#00104 🔴#everymomentcounts 🔴#5minutecitycleanup ⚪️#ipickeditup ⚪️#zerowaste ⚪️#solutionsnotpollution . . . #Repost @zwerfinator with @get_repost ・・・ Tie wraps. Or tie rips. Whatever. Keep finding them everywhere. And there are better alternatives. . . . . #zwerfie #litterati #plasticsoup #justoneperday #grabbits #pickitup #aquickpick #LeaveItCleanerThanYouFoundIt #LeaveNoTrace #1pieceofrubbish #sidewalksweep #binit #pickabag #exposingtrash #plasticpollutes #alitterwalk #packyourtrash #TrashFreeEarth #BeTheChange #MakeItFun #PowerOfFun #trashhunting #yeswetrash

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Ivory Victory in China

Image source: National Geographic (2016)

It’s with much contentment to announce that China has finally banned ivory. Chinese authorities announced this decision one year ago, promising that by the end of 2017 they would close all ivory business and implement a ban. Now it is officially so!

Elephant populations declined at an alarming rate from 1980 to 1990. What was an estimated population of 1.3 million plummeted to less than half at 600,000. At this time in 1990, international banning of ivory was being established but this did not stop poaching. In fact, poaching continued and new ivory was passed off as “old” when being traded. In 2017, there was an estimated 415,000 African elephants and an estimated 45,000 Asian elephants left in their population.

Poaching and trading decreases when countries take responsibility within their territories regarding how they may contribute to the issues. China has had a large influence with a large industry in ivory dealing. So with that being said, I think this decision will encourage neighboring countries to take the same step towards conservation.

Sources:
Steyn, Paul. African Elephant Numbers Plummet 30 Percent. National Geographic, 31 Aug 2016.
World Wide Fund for Nature. African elephants. 2017.
World Wide Fund for Nature. Asian elephants. 2017.

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Real Trees vs. Artificial Trees

We are officially 20 days away from the Christmas holiday and, of course, the environmental conversation continues. I want to address our thoughts on real Christmas trees versus artificial ones. At first thought, you would think that artificial trees dominate because they can be reused over & over, year after year, but that’s actually wrong. I know it seems daunting but real trees are recyclable… and I’ll tell you why.

A good amount of artificial Christmas trees are made of polyvinyl chloride, in a much simpler term, PVC. And yes, PVC is a plastic. Although we’re already familiar with this plastic, it’s detrimental to the environment. As soon as it has fulfilled its purpose of being your family’s Christmas tree, the tree still has a long life ahead after you’ve trashed it. PVC can only be quickly decomposed by incineration. Not to say that it cannot decompose in other natural ways, but those ways require much more time than we humans have in an average lifespan. The issue with burning polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the toxins that are emitted into the atmosphere. Dioxins are found, carcinogens are found. Both huge health concerns in manufacturing pesticides and cigarette smoking.

I know it doesn’t seem imminent because there aren’t mass piles of artificial Christmas trees everywhere you look. But when thinking sustainably, garbage simply does not exist. The environment encompasses our reality everyday in everything that we do, so everything we do must be in accordance with creating sustainability. If you haven’t put up your tree yet, consider buying a real one. Benefits include a great smelling home now & a greener earth later!

Feel free to leave questions or comments below or email me at alyssablooms@gmail.com.

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Back to Nature

I had an amazing opportunity over this past weekend (which was also my birthday weekend) to go to the mountains in Catskill, NY. I’m a nature lover as it is so I was excited to say the least. I only stood for 3 days and 3 nights but that was more than enough time to realize I’d love to go back again. It also made me realize how important it is to unplug and connect with nature.

From having limited cellphone service to being completely alone within vast natural spaces. I found myself truly mesmerized by the tranquility it provided. Most people would pick a warm climate to vacation but this was totally ideal for me. The crisp mountain air made it all the more inviting, rejuvenating, and peaceful. If my descriptions aren’t enough… here are some photos from the creek where we stood and the pond at Kaaterskill Wild Forest.

This weekend has encouraged me to make more time for outdoor activities in nature. So I’m encouraging you guys to do the same! Not only does it help to alleviate stress and anxiety, it also grounds you. Having a sense of self in a natural environment really connects you to the bigger picture that you’re apart of. Go outside! Go hiking, take a walk by the beach, collect rocks with your kids, meditate on a park bench… whether it’s local or not… connecting to nature has too many benefits to not make time for!

Have any special places that really provide that nature connection?
Share them with us at alyssa@stayblooming.com.

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What is Social Responsibility?

Social responsibility is always on my mind. The reason why I write is because of social responsibility. The reason why I feel a strong desire to educate people about the environment and self-care is due to social responsibility. The reason why I devote my time to express what are non-traditional ideas is all owed to social responsibility. So what is social responsibility and why is it important?

Social responsibility is the act of taking initiative to deal with urgent social and environmental issues without it being outwardly enforced; it is a voluntary job.

There are many different ways that people can choose to exercise taking initiative, it depends on the problem they’re trying to combat. Most people will confront the issue at a local level which means within the communities nearest to/surrounding them. While some will confront issues in a much bigger manner, involving federal/state government representatives or non-profit organizations. Whatever the way, one of social responsibility’s main goal is to create awareness.

We currently live in a society that sees major change come from the bottom up. We are constantly fighting for humanitarian causes or for justice from the government. Corporations are quick to do what it takes to keep making money… even if it means taking advantage of people who don’t see the existing viscous cycles. Change lies in social responsibility and that’s why it’s important.

Social responsibility can be a 5-minute beach clean-up. It can be food or clothing drives to donate to families in need or the homeless. It can be getting neighbors to sign a petition for change your community desperately needs. It can be teaching a class how to garden and plant their own food. It can be peaceful protesting, activism, and/or strikes. The variations are endless as the list goes on.

So what can you do? I think it’s a lot more than you realize you’re capable…